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London: Muslim leaders blame Iraq war for 7 July bombings

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  • Zafar Khan
    Muslim leaders blame Iraq war for 7 July bombings By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent Published: 11 November 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12 12:54 PM
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      Muslim leaders blame Iraq war for 7 July bombings
      By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent
      Published: 11 November 2005


      Tony Blair's foreign policy has been blamed by Home
      Office advisers for fuelling the extremism that led to
      the London bomb blasts in July.

      Senior Muslims appointed by Charles Clarke to
      investigate the causes of the attacks, in which 52
      commuters died, also warned that the Home Secretary's
      anti-terror legislation could prove dangerously

      Ministers have always denied there was any link
      between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the
      radicalisation of young British Muslims. But they were
      contradicted in the final report of seven working
      parties of Muslim leaders set up after the London
      attacks by the Home Office.

      It concluded: "British foreign policy - especially in
      the Middle East - cannot be left unconsidered as a
      factor in the motivations of criminal radical
      extremists. We believe it is a key contributory

      The report added: "The Government should learn from
      the impact of its foreign policies on its electors."

      The working groups said "radical impulses" among the
      Muslim community were often triggered by "perceptions
      of injustices inherent in western foreign policy".

      They said: "Criticism of some British foreign policies
      should not be assumed to be disloyal. Peaceful
      disagreement is a sign of a healthy democracy. Dissent
      should not be conflated with 'terrorism', 'violence'
      or deemed inimical to British values."

      Their conclusions echoed a leaked Home Office/Foreign
      Office memorandum in July which concluded that the
      Iraq war was a key cause of young Muslims turning to

      The Prime Minister's official spokesman acknowledged
      that the Government had to do more to explain the
      "fundamental point" of its policy in Iraq and
      Afghanistan, which is to bring democracy to those

      Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, said: "They
      are telling the Government some fairly challenging
      things and not just telling the Government what they
      think we wanted to hear."

      The working parties' report also attacked the
      controversial plan in the Terrorism Bill, which
      completed its turbulent Commons passage yesterday,
      over a new offence of "glorifying" terrorism.

      "The proposal ... as currently formulated could lead
      to a significant chill factor in the Muslim community
      in expressing legitimate support for
      self-determination struggles around the world," it

      Plans to give the police powers to close down mosques
      which were being used by Islamic extremists could
      deprive law-abiding communities of their place of
      worship. And moves to ban radical Islamist
      organisations, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and
      al-Muhajiroun, could send them underground and make
      them "more problematic in the future".

      Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs
      spokesman, said: "These findings confirm what the
      Government's own leaked documents have shown - that
      the war in Iraq has encouraged home-grown terrorism.
      Proposals such as banning non-violent Muslim
      organisations and closing down mosques will simply
      make matters even worse."

      The working groups recommended setting up a media unit
      to counter "Islamophobic" media reporting, setting up
      a British-Islam website to counter extremist Muslim
      sites on the internet and a drive to teach English to

      Scrap over civil service and looming battle with Lords
      threaten Blair

      The Lords

      Tony Blair faces a fresh battle over planned
      anti-terror laws as peers warned of continuing unrest
      over key proposals despite the dramatic defeats
      inflicted by MPs.

      Opposition parties warned that the Government faced
      yet more pressure over the Terrorism Bill when it
      comes to the Upper House later this month.

      The House of Lords is likely to accept the plan to
      increase powers to hold suspects without charge for up
      to 28 days, although peers are likely to call for
      extra safeguards. But sources said peers were still
      deeply concerned by plans for a new offence of
      inciting and glorifying terrorism. Major defeats in
      the Lords would increase pressure on Mr Blair, and
      threaten to embarrass the Government when the
      legislation returns to the Commons in the new year.

      The Terrorism Bill completed its passage through the
      Commons yesterday and will have its second reading in
      the Lords on 21 November.

      Yesterday Conservatives and Liberal Democrats warned
      they were worried by plans to outlaw indirect
      incitement to terrorist acts.

      They warned that it was essential to force prosecutors
      to prove intent. And they called for measures to
      protect academics, libraries and journalists from
      prosecution if they published material which might
      subsequently aid extremists.

      Ben Russell

      Work and Pensions

      A further blow to Tony Blair's authority has been
      inflicted by a senior civil servant in a row over his
      drive for cuts in benefits for the sick and disabled.

      Sir Richard Mottram, Permanent Secretary at the
      Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has blocked the
      appointment of a senior member of the No 10 Policy
      Unit to spearhead the changes.

      Gareth Davis was chosen by Mr Blair to become head of
      policy at the DWP after the resignation of David
      Blunkett as Secretary of State.

      Mr Blair appointed John Hutton to replace Mr Blunkett
      and promoted Mr Davis with clear orders to overcome
      resistance in DWP to his radical proposals, which
      include replacing part of the Incapacity Benefit with
      vouchers for training.

      One minister said: "Mottram said he was in charge of
      civil servants in his own department and he was not
      having it. It's now a question of who is running the

      In Whitehall, the refusal by Sir Richard to rubber
      stamp the appointment of Mr Davis is seen as a blow
      against Mr Blair's autocratic style.

      Government sources confirmed last night that Mr Davis
      would remain at No 10. There are suspicions in Downing
      Street that DWP chiefs oppose the radical changes
      being demanded by Mr Blair.

      Colin Brown

      Terror bill chilling for Muslims, Blair warned

      Alan Travis and Patrick Wintour
      Friday November 11, 2005
      The Guardian


      The anti-terror bill will create a "significant chill
      factor" in the Muslim community, censor those who
      criticise British foreign policy and drive extremists
      further underground, the government's advisers warned

      The fears were voiced by the Muslim community working
      groups set up by the Home Office to prevent the growth
      of extremism after the July terror attacks. The
      warning centres on the remaining provisions in the
      proposed legislation - such as the ban on the
      "glorification" of terrorist acts - that are likely to
      become the next focus of parliamentary dissent after
      Tony Blair's defeat on holding terrorist suspects for
      90 days without charge.

      The Muslim community's police and security working
      group report makes clear that many believe the present
      anti-terror regime is already excessive, and that the
      measures risk provoking further radicalisation of
      young British Muslims.
      It says the proposal to make "inciting, justifying or
      glorifying terrorism" a criminal offence "could lead
      to a significant chill factor in the Muslim community
      in expressing legitimate support for
      self-determination struggles around the world". It
      could also lead to a fear of using "legitimate
      concepts and terminology" because of the anxiety of
      being misunderstood by authorities ignorant of
      Arabic/Islamic vocabulary. For instance, a speech on
      jihad could easily be misunderstood as glorifying
      terrorism, and the "extremely thin line" between
      empathising with the Palestinian cause and justifying
      the actions of suicide bombers could not be drawn with
      any legal certainty.

      It fears that a proposed Foreign Office database of
      "foreign extremists" and a Home Office list of
      extremist websites, bookshops and organisations of
      concern will lead to a clampdown that will be seen as
      "censorship of all those who might criticise British
      foreign policy or call for political unity among
      Muslims: 'This is disingenuous to say the least,
      carrying the dual risk of radicalisation and driving
      the extremists further underground'."

      The reports published by the Home Office yesterday
      said British foreign policy had been "a key
      contributory factor" in driving extremist groups, and
      perceptions of injustices inherent in western foreign
      policy were triggering "radical impulses" among
      British Muslims.

      Ifath Nafwaz, the deputy convenor of the security and
      policing working group, said: "There is huge concern
      about the anti-terrorism legislation - that it is
      excessive and is going to drive people underground. We
      ask for a dialogue to be opened up with the

      The anti-terrorism minister, Hazel Blears, admitted
      that the Muslim community was telling the government
      "some fairly challenging things", but insisted that
      the legislation was aimed at terrorists and not at the
      Muslim community. Ministers this week strengthened the
      test necessary to bring a prosecution for "glorifying
      terrorism", with prosecutors now having to demonstrate
      "reckless intent" to make a charge stick. It is
      expected that this will prove the main battleground
      when the terror bill goes to the Lords in 10 days'

      More about London Bombings at:
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